A title match in September?
While both teams will have a lot of work to do after their encounter Friday, Floyd Central and Columbus East likely will decide the Hoosier Hills Conference championship when they meet at Columbus East High School.
Both teams are 3-0 in conference play and the only teams without a league loss.
East has been the splinter in Floyd Central’s big toe, knocking off the Highlanders nine consecutive times. In 2011 and 2010, East handed Floyd Central its only conference loss.
Week 6 foes
WHO: Floyd Central
WHERE: Columbus East High School
WHEN: 7 p.m. Friday
RECORD: 4-1 overall, 3-0 Hoosier Hills Conference
COACH: Brian Glesing
KEY PLAYERS: QB Colton Kimm, RB Gaige Klingsmith, RB Garry Posey, LB Chase Herron, LB John Strobel
LAST MEETING: Columbus East defeated Floyd Central 31-7 in 2012.
WHO: Terre Haute North
WHERE: Terre Haute North
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday
RECORD: 3-2 overall, 1-2 Conference Indiana
COACH: Chris Barrett
KEY PLAYERS: QB Chris Barrett II, RB Ricky Brookins, WR Jordan Moothery, LB Trey Grim, LB Wyatt Stoelting
LAST MEETING: Columbus North beat
Terre Haute North 21-14 in 2006 sectional.
Floyd Central last won the conference title in 2003, when it defeated East 24-13. The Olympians lost to Jeffersonville later that same season, dropped a 2006 contest to Bedford North Lawrence and haven’t lost another HHC game in the past nine years.
“It’s not surprising that Floyd Central is 4-1,” East coach Bob Gaddis said. “After our game last year (a 31-7 East victory), they played a lot of young guys the rest of the way. They have 11 guys back on defense.”
The Highlanders’ young defenders have blossomed, as they proved in a 28-14 victory against Jeffersonville last Friday. Floyd Central lost to Jeffersonville 63-15 a year ago.
“I think their win over Jeffersonville surprised a lot of people,” Gaddis said. “But they are fundamentally sound.
“It will be a good challenge for us, and it’s a game we always look forward to.”
Gaddis said the Highlanders will continue to use the “power pitch” as they have in years past, but this season they appear to be a more potent passing team, as well.
Quarterback Colton Kimm has shown he can keep a defense honest as the Highlanders have almost as many passing yards (835) as rushing yards (1,080).
Defensively, Gaddis said that Floyd Central pressures opponents, sometimes walking nine men up to the line of scrimmage. Considering that the Highlanders will need to gamble to stop East’s rushing attack, that might be a familiar sight Friday.
Gaddis said Floyd Central has two solid running backs, Gaige Klingsmith and Garry Posey. Klingsmith has rushed for 714 yards and 11 touchdowns. Posey has gained 116 yards and has four touchdowns. Austin Carl has 244 receiving yards and three touchdowns. He averages 20.3 yards per catch.
Linebackers Chase Herron (41 tackles) and John Strobel (42 tackles) are the leaders of the defense.
While East gets to stay home to play its big game, Columbus North (2-3 overall, 2-1 Conference Indiana) has to travel to face Terre Haute North.
“We are working hard to make this trip a great experience,” said North coach Tim Bless, who said the parents’ boosters club has chartered a bus for the team so it could ride in comfort. The team will stop halfway through the drive to eat the pregame meal and to break up the trip.
North will face a Terre Haute North team (3-2, 1-2) that is just a few points from being unbeaten. Terre Haute North dropped a 28-24 decision to crosstown rival Terre Haute South and lost 11-10 to unbeaten Southport in two overtimes.
“I can’t believe they have two conference losses,” Bless said. “They have very good personnel. It’s another story of a team having a dynamic tailback (Ricky Brookins, eight rushing touchdowns, one receiving touchdown), and they use a very quick passing game (led by quarterback Chris Barrett II).
“They held Southport to 11 points, so obviously they have a very stout defense.”
Bless said Terre Haute North fluctuates between a four- and five-man front and runs lots of blitzes.
“It will be a heady prep work week for us,” he said.